Member Briefing: December 8

North Carolina wins our first ever “three comma” passenger rail grant — and Virginia wins its largest as well — resulting in $1.8 billion in federal investment for the Southeast Corridor

Earlier this week, U.S Senator Thom Tillis announced a $1 billion+ USDOT / FRA grant for the Raleigh to Richmond S-Line Corridor. The $1,000,000,000+ federal grant will enable NCDOT to extend North Carolina’s existing Charlotte to Raleigh “Piedmont” passenger train service north of Raleigh to Wake Forest. This is a transformational investment for North Carolina and jump starts the regional business community’s longstanding desire to “connect the capitals” of Raleigh, Richmond, and Washington, DC. with enhanced, higher speed, passenger rail service.

Kudos to NCDOT for their decades-long devotion to smart, scalable, and strategic planning and investments in high performance passenger and freight rail infrastructure for North Carolina. Similar kudos to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (Va. DRPT); like North Carolina, they also received their largest federal intercity passenger rail grant ever, with more than $700m in improvements from Washington, D.C. to Richmond that will benefit the entire Southeast Corridor in Virginia and North Carolina.

See these links for more information (USDOT, Triangle Business Journal, News&Observer, Richmond Times-Dispatch, CBS 17, WRAL); we will have more to say on this incredible win for North Carolina next week.

Access User Fee — keeping our focus on the future of funding

RTA has been advocating for an access user fee for several years as the most effective way to replace the gas tax and modernize and stabilize transportation funding in North Carolina. RTA, the NC Chamber and a host of partners saw tremendous progress this year in the legislature with the passage of new and increased partial access user fees on hybrid and EVs. Read our current update on access user fees in this week’s blog.

Commute Friendly NC

RTA Leadership Team member the Central Pines Regional Council (formerly Triangle J Council of Governments) coordinates a statewide program that highlights companies that provide alternative transportation options for their employees. Companies can offer mobility choices that range from a bike share program to offering remote working. There is no cost to participate in the program. To apply and view requirements for the different tier listings, please visit the program website.

It has been a remarkable week (and year) for transportation and economic development in North Carolina.

Let’s get ready to celebrate next month at our 22nd annual meeting. And, let’s get moving.

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director



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